Not only my first beach trip, but also the first vacation where I can recall sitting on the beach without worrying what’s for dinner, not needing to look at my watch to decide if it’s acceptable to eat, getting enough sleep because I’m not getting up to exercise...etc
I don’t know why, but I always think back to this moment in philosophy class. I realized I didn’t have to have exercise related anxiety anymore, that it was part of my ed, that it wasn’t supposed to be there. The classic CBT didn’t make my anxiety go away, but I felt a weight I’d been carrying lifted off of my shoulders.
I had an ed for so long that I often forget what life was like without the burden of mental illness on my shoulders. At first, living life like a normal person was equally as terrifying as it was wonderful. The mechanisms that once brought me so much comfort were prohibited. The anxiety consumed in food no longer had food to latch on to, and so it moved on to other things.
For the most part, I’ve adapted pretty well to this “normal person” lifestyle. But I really just wasn’t sure about vacation.
I feel a little bit, maybe a lot a bit, like a kid again this week. Because in some ways, I’m experiencing a vacation for the first time again. I’m not just “relaxing” (read: sitting on the porch reading a book, squirming because I wish I was moving around), I’m actually relaxing. And I’m eating. And I’m living. It reminds me again of the day in philosophy class, when I realized what a weight I had carried on my shoulders for so long. Even if you can’t possibly imagine a life beyond mental illness, there is.
You never really know you’ve been drowning until you come up for air.